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Baseball history unpacked, February 19

Scenes from the rich tapestry of the great game.

... on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, Bleed Cubbie Blue brings a you a Cubs-centric look at baseball’s past. Here’s a handy Cubs timeline, to help you follow along as we review select scenes from the rich tapestry of Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball history*.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1937 - The New York Giants open their spring training camp in Havana, Cuba. (3)
  • 1946 - Giants OF Danny Gardella becomes the first major leaguer to announce he is jumping to the “outlaw” Mexican League, the first shot in the series of events that will dominate baseball even more than the return of all the war veterans. His attempt to return to Major League Baseball a few years later will initiate a major court battle. (3)
  • 1953 - Ted Williams safely crash-lands his damaged Panther jet after flying a combat mission in Korea. (2)
  • 1970 - “....I have decided on the basis of facts developed at these conferences that Mr. McLain’s involvement in 1967 bookmaking activities and his associations at that time leave me no alternative but to suspend him from all organized baseball activities pending the completion of my review of his situation.” - Bowie Kuhn, commissioner of baseball, announcing Denny McLain’s suspension.

After a five-and-a-half-hour meeting with McLain, the pitcher’s lawyer, William Aiken, and baseball’s security chief, Henry Fitzgibbon, Kuhn suspended the Tigers right-hander indefinitely for bookmaking and his associations at that time after the 1968 Cy Young Award recipient appeared voluntarily before a Federal grand jury in Detroit. The suspension lasted three months. (1,2)

  • 1981 - When the player-management panel is unable to reach a compromise, baseball implements a compensation plan that provides for the team signing a ranking free agent to give up a roster player and an amateur draft choice in return. The owners’ move, seen by the players as undermining the value of free agency, will lead to a midseason strike, forcing the cancellation of 713 games. (1)
  • 2016 - The Federal Bureau of Investigations arrests player agent Bart Hernandez on charges of human trafficking and conspiracy stemming from his association with two convicted fraudsters and their role in extorting large amounts of money from Cuban players seeking to defect to the United States. A lawsuit filed by OF Leonys Martin prompted the FBI investigation. (3)
  • 2018 - Commissioner Rob Manfred announces that he has come to an agreement with the Players Association on pace of play initiatives. Contrary to what he had announced a month earlier, the Commissioner retreats from his threat of imposing a pitch clock unilaterally. However, the two sides agree to place limits on the number of mound visits and to reduce the allotted time between innings. (3)

Cubs birthdays: Jim Cosman, Miguel Batista.

Common sources:

*We vet each item as much as time allows. Please let us know if an item is in error, especially if you have a source. Thanks for reading.